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Mike Weatherley’s ten recommendations on Google’s role in policing piracy

By | Published on Friday 30 May 2014

Mike Weatherly

Here are Mike Weatherley MP’s ten recommendations to Google et al, and to recently appointed Culture Minister Sajid Javid, about the role search engines could and, if you like, should have in helping police piracy online. Read Weatherley’s full report here.

Recommendation 1: Search engines should adopt the suggestions set out in this paper but Google in particular must take the lead in setting responsible industry standards as the largest provider of search in the UK.

Recommendation 2: The opportunity for rights holders to discuss with Google how to maximise the prioritisation of sites with legitimate content would be welcome. I also believe that the publicity that such an event might garner could provide a positive contribution to the educational goal described earlier in this paper.

Recommendation 3: The proposed initiative by Google regarding ‘crawlable licensed services’ is explored further between licensed services, rights holders and Google, in conjunction with the other proposals set out in this paper.

Recommendation 4: An effective means of promoting/demoting search results on the basis of legality should be implemented, for example demotion based on the volume of copyright notices and [City Of London Police’s] blacklist; Google and others should take steps to engage with rights holders to design a workable system. This recommendation could be quickly acted upon and a good signpost of intent.

Recommendation 5: Search engines should agree a protocol with rights holders whereby once they receive a copy of a formal court order blocking a site from access via the main UK ISPs, they must take steps to remove that site from their search algorithms promptly. This may require government assistance by amending legislation to include court orders extending to more situations than ISPs only.

Recommendation 6: Search engines should fully support the ‘Follow The Money’ initiative and take the lead in reducing the supply of advertising funds to pirates. Given Google state that this would be a breach of their policy to not do this, then this recommendation is not controversial and all are agreed that no revenues should find their way into the hands of those operating sites with illegal activity/downloads.

Recommendation 7: Search engines should enter into open discussions with rights holders to formulate a formal reporting and take-down system for illegitimate Autocomplete terms, the results of which should be included in Google’s Transparency Report.

Recommendation 8: Search engines should explore the means of incorporating trust marks and warnings to signify legal content both into its algorithms and into the search results presented to consumers.

Recommendation 9: Everyone should support the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme and explore alternative private agreements/codes of conduct to prevent piracy outside of legislation. With the continued delay in implementing the DEA, rights holders and the Committee support the idea of putting voluntary measures to reduce piracy in place. Initiatives such as The BPI’s VCAP have the advantage of flexibility over legislation and may remove the need for further legislation if proved to be effective.

Recommendation 10: The initiatives suggested by Google as set out in further detail in Appendix 2 [in my paper] should be explored further between licensed services, rights holders and Google, but only in conjunction with the other recommendations set out in this paper.